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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Having 2 Under 2

My daughter turns 2 this month and I officially survived 2 kids under 2 for 6 months. Although I feel like many of the days were a blur, I do remember a lot of joy, but also a lot of feeling overwhelmed and outnumbered. I thought I would share the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to parenting 2 under 2, and tips on how to survive the madness! 

2 under 2

  •  Prepare your first-born. When I found out I was pregnant, we got my daughter a baby doll. She would put the doll in the crib, the baby swing, and feed the baby a bottle. It was so sweet to see her be so loving, and it was a great way to teach her how to be “gentle” before the real baby came home. I also suggest putting out all the baby items you will be using (bouncer, swing, etc) since she of course wanted to sit in them and play with them, then the “newness” wore off before the new baby arrived.
  • First introductions.  I read so much on how to prepare your first born for meeting their new sibling, and a lot of it didn’t really apply because my daughter was still so young. Ellie, my oldest came to the hospital to meet my son, and I made sure he was in his bassinet and I welcomed her with open arms. She gave me a big hug, then wanted down to play with all the buttons and wires in the hospital room. Hey, it wasn’t a meltdown or jealously. So, I was happy. Don’t overthink this: the room full of buttons is way more exciting than a baby to a toddler.

2 Under 2

  • They will both have needs at the same time. Let’s face it, they will be hungry at the same time, often poop simultaneously, and even cry at the same time. A sweet friend told me to always go with who ever is in more critical need. So if the baby were crying because he is fussy, but my daughter is crying because she fell, I would go help my daughter first. I always tend to feel overwhelmed when they both cry, but taking a deep breath and just tackling who needs something first is a good way to go. 
  • Create your own routine. Find what works, for your kids and your family. I let my daughter watch a show when I put my son down for a nap. It gives me 10 minutes to nurse him and cuddle him to sleep while she is zoned to the TV. That’s okay, if it helps your kids and your sanity. Find what works for your kids and stick to it. 
  • Ask for help. Let a trusted family member or friend take your oldest out to lunch, or the park.  Schedule play dates to help your oldest get out of the house.  This keeps you in close quarters to help feed and get your little one to sleep.   
  • Invest in white noise machines. We have one in both kid’s rooms, that way neither wakes the other one up. They seem to nap and sleep on different schedules and the baby is up throughout the night. This has been a huge lifesaver! No crying toddler during the midnight feeding = a happy mama, toddler and family!  
  • Just breathe. Sounds crazy but at times you will feel like super mom, and others you just can’t do anything right. Take a deep breath and know this too shall pass. It’s a crazy, and amazing time in your life and although some days feel long, the months are short! 

2 Under 2

Do you have any tips for surviving 2 Under 2?  We would love to see in the comments below.  

Photo credit: Erin McFarland Photography (top + feature image) + Shannon Lee Photography (middle image)

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4 Responses to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Having 2 Under 2

  1. Diane Grant January 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    This is EXCELLENT, Ashley! Gotta role with the punches. Yes, having a program the older one can watch while you feed the baby was a lifesaver for me! Just the simplicity of remembering to breath & remembering “this too shall pass” made it easier to get through the hard days.

  2. Kim January 30, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    Great read! Here are some other survival tips we learned helped:

    1-While gerting ready for baby #2, Make meals in advance-freeze. Get that extra freezer full! We did frozen crock pot meals you can find online to freeze. Super healthy. Make snacks too eg energy bites, lactation Cookies etc. When baby is here it’s game on!
    2- make a play area where you will nurse
    3-make duplicate nursing and changing stations where you sleep and live
    4-when bringing home the new baby, bring a gift to your toddler from the baby
    5-be kind to you. Good get a massage, go for a walk, God forbid sleep etc. The baby will need daddy bonding time, don’t feel like you need to be there.

  3. Becca January 30, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    TOTALLY! My Ellie is my oldest and we were 2 under 2 for 4.5 months. It was nuts around here. And you’re so right (I’m laughing).. “go with the one who has the most immediate need” hahaha! it’s the truth!

  4. Christi L Duke February 1, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

    Great advice! Mine are turning 1 and 2 in March so this past year has been a crazy ride!

    We used the same approach of who need’s me the most. Also- sound machines, consistent bed times and the same feeding schedule.

    We are lucky that both sleep through the night and one is a morning person and the other a night owl.

    Using a backpack that is a diaper bag is key!

    We felt so successful that we are having #3 in July – so we will be experiencing 3 under 3!

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